Coat season is nigh

LInda Lencovic sewing

For the last EIGHT YEARS I’ve been searching for the perfect winter coat – and haven’t found it! At least for any price I can afford. There is something about only wearing the garment for a few months of the year that keeps me from being able to justify spending £300+ on a coat…well, that and the bank balance. ;-P

That is why I am so giddy this year as I might, actually, be able to sew my own coat this time around! Wouldn’t that be amazing??

I am taking baby steps with my learning curve and have been slowly working on a lightweight Merchant & Mills Strand, which seems a pretty simple first coat. I’ve been pinning coats like mad, trying hoarding ideas.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 15.20.54

I am planning on making mine thigh length so it is a bit more casual. The Merchant & Mills website photos are notoriously unhelpful in being about to see what the garments are truly like, but I am lucky to know someone who has made a beautiful boiled wool version of this and was able to try it on. The coat is truly lovely… the pictures on the website just don’t do it justice!

Here is the image of the coat from the M&M website that I have overexposed so you can actually see details of the garment, including the little hook closures at the front middle.

Merchant_Mills_Strand_coat

I am hoping to make mine in some beautiful Dana Linen/Viscose I purchased at Fabric Godmother (check out her fabrics, they are amazing).  This navy fabric is a stunner and makes me think of an old oil painting with the underpainting showing through. A thick, drapey fabric, this will make the most stunning coat…if I can manage it!

image © Fabric Godmother

image © Fabric Godmother

I thought I was being practical and taking baby steps by starting with a simple jacket that didn’t need to be lined and doesn’t have a collar or buttons. THEN I decided the fabric needed to be reinforced with interfacing and possibly even fully lined to make it fabulous. And it needs to overlap at the front for warmth. I am also omitting the front pockets as the pattern also has deeper side pockets as well.

Thanks to the every knowledgeable Gail I purchased Craftsy’s Essential Guide to Tailoring by Alison Smith which has helped clarify quite a bit on the tailoring front (thanks again Gail!). Unfortunately the pattern matching has almost broken me, and I’ve nearly given up twice already!

See, I’d purchased 2 metres of the fabric on impulse and was planning to make a Haramere Jacket from the new Merchant Workbook but then changed my mind to the Strand, thinking it would be easier. What I didn’t take into account was how much more fabric I would need to make the large flower repeat match. Then – horror of all horrors- the fabric sold out! I nearly had a heart attack as I’d already started cutting out the coat.

Luckily, lovely Josie at Fabric Godmother had .6 m of the fabric left and I ordered that immediately, only to find the repeat I needed wasn’t in the length. GULP. I resigned myself to having it not completely match. Then I noticed Josie had managed to get another bolt of the fabric! Joy! I promptly ordered 2 more metres, realising all the while that this first coat was starting to cost me a fortune. And then another horror. The new bolt was slightly more faded than the version I have. I nearly started to weep.

Luckily Josie’s return policy is brilliant, so I returned the fabric and started to desperately match up the front panels as well as I could with what I had.

KettleYarnCo_the_Strand_1

The above is the best I could do and I put it aside as I just can’t live with it. That top left panel is totally off and I can’t stop seeing it. Sigh. Must give this one more thought! Maybe I need to find some lightweight solid navy fabric for the top bit? We’ll see.

Has anyone run across any lovely lightweight navy wool? It would need to be a heavy lightweight or light mediumweight to match the weight of the rest of the fabric! Help!